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A record crowd over 4,000 spectators, competitors and participants and more than 500 horses attended the second running of The Festival of the Horse at Highclere Castle, Newbury, Berks over the Bank Holiday weekend (26-28 August 2000).
Commented Adrian Wiley, Manager of Highclere Castle: "The whole Carnarvon family enjoyed the occasion which must be one of the few times that so many areas of equestrianism have come together ‘under one roof’.

"As a result of the success of the event, we will be moving the craft fair (traditionally held here on the same weekend) to another date; so that we can focus purely on the Horse Trials and Festival of the Horse. It is such a wonderful venue for equestrian events here and we would love to see more," ends Adrian.

The top class of The International Horse Trials – the Advanced Intermediate - was won by this year’s Gatcombe victor, William Fox-Pitt from Bicester with Mrs Jayne Apter, Studio TV & Hire and Hackett’s Stunning. William also took second and sixth places in the Open Intermediate class with Western Reef and Tamarillo (respectively). This section was won by Gordon Murphy from Lower Kingswood, Surrey with Park Pageboy.

The three Horse Trials intermediate sections were won by Marcus Reid from Winchester (Hants) with the Highclere cross country course designer, Sue Bennett’s Penton Rhapsody; Ireland’s Mark Kyle with the 7 year old Kaiser Soze; and local Reading-based rider, Marie Louise Thomas with Historic Warwick. Even closer to home, Lady Carnarvon’s daughter-in-law, Chica Herbert’s, horse Queens Council III sponsored by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, put in a highly creditable performance ridden by Melanie Forster to finish seventh in Intermediate Section A.

Said Chica: "The horse was only a pre-novice last year and he has progressed so well. We go the West of England Novice Final next and then the 2 star Weston Park 3 day; with Windsor and Punchestown in mind in 2001."

The 4 year old Potential Young Event Horse Class was won by The Catherston Stud with their bay stallion Catherston Gold Eagle by Catherston Goldstorm out of Deborah UK. Some of the entries in this class went forward to the Showcase Sale which followed. Judge and commentator, Susie Pragnall commented afterwards: "I have rarely seen a better group of young competition horses presented for sale."

Carriage Driving Championships:
Wiltshire-based carriage driver, Di Hayes from Amesbury took home top honours in the White Horse Harness Club Carriage Driving Trials on the Saturday at The Festival, She took the Open Horse Class, Best Marathon, Best Overall Score and was the Overall Competition winner with her 10 year old hackney mare, Culmellie are shortlisted, sealing their credentials as the British representative in the second ever Singles World Carriage Driving (Three Day) Championships in Gladstone (New Jersey, in America) this October. Said Di: "The marathon course was wonderful – perfect going and wonderful scenery – and presented quite a challenge, particularly the water, which was quite deep. I’d definitely come back again to compete."
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